There’s nothing quite as offsetting as a badly tuned guitar. It just doesn’t sound right, does it? And you won’t need a professional to tell your sound is off either. You’ll hear it yourself. And so will your mother and that attractive crush of yours next door, sadly. A badly tuned guitar is simply a bad experience for everybody, which is why you’ll need to save your poor mama the headache, and get yourself a nice guitar tuner.
These little gadgets are there, so you don’t have to endure the struggle of tuning each string by ear. Instead, they work by quickly sensing vibrations that your guitar makes as the sound resonates, and gradually lead you to the perfect note. Today we have different types of tuners including; clip-on headstock tuners, handhelds and pedals. Most, if not all of them, can work with bass, acoustic and electric guitars. Some even work for mandolins, banjos and ukuleles. You will want one that is as accurate and portable as possible, enough so you can carry it around and make sure your guitar is in tune for every performance.
We have rounded up some of the best guitar tuners from different brands together with a comprehensive review to show you their upsides and weak points. You can refer to our list to make the most informed decision.
Top 10 Guitar Tuners Of 2020 Reviewed
1. NS Micro Tuner D’AddarioBest Guitar Tuner For Easy Storage And Travel
This headstock tuner is the smallest you can find in its category but it does not sacrifice quality and functionality because of its remarkable modern features. It boasts of an adjustable screen for your convenience along with the visual metronome and multiple calibration modes.
It is quite easy to attach the tuner to the back or front of the instrument’s headstock and remains stealthy unless you have an eagle-eyed audience watching. So, it fits any instruments regardless of style or size as long as they have a headstock thus, it works for classical, acoustic, electric, banjo, ukulele, bass, mandolin, or upright bass.
- Compact and portable
- Low price
- Discreet appearance
- Quick tuning response
- No polyphonic tuning
- Screen not that visible in bright sunlight
2. Korg Pitchblack AdvanceBest Guitar Tuner For Long-Term Use
The tech-loaded pedal tuner is our best choice when it comes to long-lasting battery life, allowing you to use the unit for hours and for heavy-duty tuning purposes. The brand has been in the industry for eight long years now, resulting in numerous editions and innovations such as the mini and polyphonic models.
One of the key features of this model is its long battery life with the alkaline nine-volt feature, which could last for up to 60 hours. It can also limit power supply interference through its reliable and modern software control. Other features include improved visibility with high-brightness LED colors, bigger display, and viewable light conditions.
- Sleek aesthetics
- 60-hour battery life
- Noise-free pedal power-sharing
- Lacks buffered bypass
- Not so accurate tuning
3. TC Electronic Mini Poly Tune 2Best Guitar Tuner For Smaller Pedalboard
The second of the series of polyphonic tuners by TC Electronic comes out with a miniature version and it deserves recognition because of its numerous innovative features. The groundbreaking Poly Tune 2 Mini tunes up all strings in a simultaneous manner while its chromatic strobe option offers tuning accuracy.
It features other modern designs such as the ultra-bright LED display, true bypass switching, and up to five semitones flat tunings. On top of it all, the premium feature of the guitar tuner is its mini pedal tuning size even for the most limited pedalboard spaces.
- The miniature footprint for space-saving advantage
- Polyphonic tuning
- Viewable display in different light conditions
- No buffered bypass option
4. TC Electronic Poly Tune 3Best Guitar Tuner For The Latest Polyphonic Tuning
TC Electronic delivers polyphonic tuning, which means you can tune all of your guitar strings at once and the latest of its models is the Poly Tune 3. Enthusiasts and market watchers consider it the best pedal tuner yet with its series of new designs and innovations starting with the built-in BonaFide Buffer, allowing players to choose between true bypass with internal DIP switch adjustment and all analog buffered bypass.
These features boost the signal with the help of large pedal boards or long cable runs along with other notable designs such as the ultra-bright LED display, chromatic and polyphonic tuning modes, and the accurate +/-0.02-cent strobe tuner.
- High accuracy
- Multiple tuning capacities
- Adjustable and switchable buffer
- Too expensive for tighter budgets
5. Roadie 2 Automatic Smart TunerBest Guitar Tuner For Most Accuracy
This automatic smart guitar tuner received the most accolades for extreme accuracy thanks to its range innovative technology of tuning precision. On top of this feature, the true stroboscope tuner features a LED ring that you can drive directly through electronic or guitar signal strobes.
The detection of the note is quite fast and the response is instant while the display is intuitive along with the top-notch polyphonic capability. It can tune up different types of a string instrument such as mandolins, ukuleles, steel guitars, acoustic and classic, electric, banjos, and so much more.
- Superior accuracy
- Compact dimension
- Intuitive and responsive
- Manual lacks important instructions
6. Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & ViolinBest Clip-On Guitar Tuner
Want to avoid having to deal with an out-of-tune guitar? The Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar is designed to give you a crisp, clear sound. That means you no longer have to tune your guitar using your ears. It is a clip-on tuner, which is small enough to work on a guitar or violin. Manufactured by the reputable company, Snark, this guitar tuner is clipped onto the headstock. As soon as you pluck one of the strings, the tuner matches the vibrations to the frequency. In the process, it will reveal the out-of-tune string and what you can to tune.
This is basically a chromatic tuner, which uses vibrations to give you a perfect sound. It comes with an HD display, through which you can easily read the settings as you tune. Equipped with a 360-degree swivel head, it is possible to make it face you no matter where the tuner is clipped. Included in the package is a CR2 battery.
- Simple to use
- Cost lower than other tuners
- An effective, powerful tuner
- Reports of it easily breaking upon tune-up
- Poorly designed
- Seems to move out of place when playing the guitar
7. Fender TuneBest Guitar Tuner App For Beginners
Fender launched its first-ever app, which is compatible with both Android and iOS offering intuitive and convenient to use interface. It is user-friendly even for newcomers that are not computer savvy. You can get your guitar in tune as well as cover basic tone tips such as amp setting and strumming.
The guitar tuner app could detect acoustic guitar notes as well as amplified electrics while offering autotune. It also features manual and chromatic tune modes such as custom tunings and alternate tuning options, among others. You can also access in-app purchases such as the Pro Tuner feature that offers visual precision, drum beats, chord finder, plus scale diagrams, and metronome.
- Easy to use especially for beginners
- Different modes for auto, chromatic, and manual tuning
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- Not so satisfactory tuning accuracy
- Requires in-app purchase to increase accuracy
8. Boss TU-3 Chromatic TunerBest Guitar Tuner For Standard Pedal
The industry standard guitar pedal tuner is the third of the series of Boss products, which launched in 1998 but the latest model has improved features of its predecessor, the TU-2. It boasts of the +/-1 cent strobe tuning capacity and more than 23-segment LED display for more accurate tuning.
Some of its other functions are the new high brightness mode for maximum current draw, power pass of 200mA to connect to seven other pedals, and the buffered output using pedals and long leads.
- Up to six semitone drop tuning functionality
- Durable build quality
- Remarkable visibility and brightness modes
- Bypass switcher
- No polyphonic function
9. D’Addario Micro NS Tuner SoundholeBest Guitar Tuner For Acoustic Guitars
The Micro Soundhole Tuner by D’Addario is the least intrusive, not to mention the smallest guitar tuner for acoustic instruments. The universal non-marring mounting clip allows you to mount the miniature chromatic device, letting you conceal it within the soundhole of your guitar. It features the vibration detector, the piezo transducer, with highly sensitive capacity, which functions from the soundboard.
The guitar tuner promises accurate and fast tuning response on top of its remarkable visibility with a bright display. It is the best option for acoustic instruments including basses, guitars, and ukuleles, delivering accurate tuning and a calibration range of A435-455.
- Responsive and quick tuning
- Stealthy mode through soundhole fit
- Compact and portable
- Not compatible with electric instruments
- Ordinary clip-on tuning accuracy
10. KLIQ UBER TunerBest Guitar Tuner For Multiple Instruments
The KLIQ UBERTUNER clip-on device is the bestselling brand and model in its category, offering flexibility like no other. It boasts of the high sensitivity piezo sensor offering accurate and lightning fast tuning while it works for a variety of dedicated modes not just for guitars but other string instruments including bass, chromatic instruments, violin, ukulele, mandolin, and so much more.
One of the best features of this device is the multi-point screen adjustability to provide the best angle while the full-color brilliant display makes the device easy to read. It features the transposition settings for brass and woodwind instruments, adding up to its flexibility of use and functionality.
- Reliable, strong, and durable design for long-term use
- Super bright display
- Fast and accurate tuning
- Battery life is not that long
How To Choose Best Guitar Tuners: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Guitar tuners are must-have tools whether you are new to this musical trade or a seasoned player in your genre. However, the search for the best guitar tuner is not an easy one especially when you look into the different choices you have on the market today. You may need to make extra effort to come up with an informed and sound decision since there are numerous models and brands that may overwhelm you.
We will help you with that concern and give you some important tips so that you can compare the products, effectively narrow down your choices, and finally come up with the best buying decision for a quality investment on your musical pastime or career. Here are the things to look for in today’s guitar tuners:
Tuning Capacity and Accuracy
Guitar tuners help you tune up your instrument so that they are in the right tune for quality play output and that is what you must primarily look for in your device. These tools are not created equal especially when it comes to their tuning capacity. Accurate strobe tuning depends on the design of the product and other innovations integrated in its construction. The higher the accuracy of the guitar tuner, the better results you could get.
Some guitar tuners are made only for acoustic instruments while others are for electric types and counterparts. Some work only on guitars while others have multiple functions, which is compatible with other instruments such as basses, ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, and the likes. You can go for tuners that cater to only one specialization or you can have an all-in-one unit so that you can save on your storage and bring just one device especially when you are on the go.
Just like any other products and tools on the market, guitar tuners also come in different price ranges and this particular feature highly influences the quality of the device you could get. You can look for guitar tuners that are at the bottom of the price scale while others have price tags that are more expensive. It all depends on how much you are willing to invest in your musical tool and if you think that it is worth it after all.
The longevity of the battery life determines the usability of the device thus, if you intend to use your tool for a longer time, make sure that it has a higher battery life capacity. Some guitar tuners with smaller sizes naturally have shorter lifespan while others can last longer. The significant difference could be in the bulky size. Most longer lasting batteries could endure up to 60 hours of usage while others could last for only 18 hours or shorter.
Size is an important factor in choosing your guitar-tuning device because it could either be a burden or an asset for you. There are portable and compact mini tools that allow you easy storage and convenience especially when you are traveling. However, some devices could be larger and bulkier than their ordinary counterparts could. It all depends on your preference since bigger units have normally much longer battery life and more features than the smaller units do.
Shopping for a new musical device is one of the most daunting and confusing tasks you could ever encounter but doing pre-purchase research could make a world of difference. The best guitar tuner is one of the investments you should make especially if you are a new hobbyist in the business or a seasoned player. Tuning up your guitar is the first step to making sure that you enjoy quality sound and output whether it is for mere entertainment or professional playing.
The Internet is the best place to start your search for the best guitar tuner because you have overflowing selections to choose from, not to mention good offers and discounts. It may be overwhelming and confusing at first but knowing what you need helps you narrow down your list and gives you an idea of the best products on the market.
Know the things you should look for such as tuning accuracy, pricing or cost, size and portability, design and features, and battery life. Get the best guitar tuner now and experience music like no other. However, before you do that, make sure that you do your homework first, read the reviews on today’s top products and enjoy your purchase!